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Staying healthy a point of emphasis for Ebron

Eric Ebron has steadily improved year over year. He recorded a 61-catch, 711-yard season in 2016. His receptions ranked 10th among all tight ends. His yards ranked eighth.

Ebron put up those numbers despite missing three games due to injury.

In fact, Ebron's missed at least two games due to injury in each of his first three seasons. Ebron, who turned 24 earlier this month, has played in 42 of a possible 50 games in his NFL career.

Trying to build his body where it can stay healthy over a 16-game slate has been a point of emphasis for Ebron this offseason. So much so, he's even began a Pilates regimen to help his core strength and flexibility.

"I just want to stay healthy," Ebron told reporters Tuesday. "If I can just stay healthy, I know for sure ... I believe in my ability and the things that I can do. So, if I can just stay healthy, I'll just prove what I should have proved years ago."

Ebron's had high expectations placed on his shoulders after the Lions selected him 10th overall in 2013.

He suffered an ankle injury that kept him out most of training camp last season, and ankle and knee injuries forced him to miss a three-game stretch later in October.

He's healthy and feeling good this offseason, something he hopefully can maintain for the duration of the 2017 season.

"My biggest thing this year is to try and stay healthy and I'll be well beyond anything I've done yet if I can just maintain my health," Ebron said. "That's my biggest thing this year. That's my biggest thing going forward. From there we'll just see how the dice rolls."

Lions general manager Bob Quinn rolled the dice on Ebron this offseason, picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie contract. It will put Ebron among the league's highest paid tight ends in 2018, and it's something Ebron said is an indication to him he's a big part of the team's plans moving forward.

"It just shows they have confidence in me (and) trust in me to be better and do better and look to me as a piece of the puzzle of what they're trying to do for the future," he said. "I'm just appreciative of it."

Also this offseason, Ebron announced on Twitter that he and his girlfriend are expecting a baby, his first, a son who is due October 27.

That news has put Ebron's career and future in a bit of perspective as well.

"It makes you look at lot of things a lot differently," Ebron said of fatherhood. "The way you go about every day. The way you spend your money. It accounts for everything in life.

"It just puts a lot of things in perspective. Some of the things like this, playing football, playing for what you're playing for now, it changes that. Pretty much your attitude towards attacking every day and things like that. It's more motivation than it is pressure for me."

Ebron even joked that his son's due date (Oct. 27) is close to Detroit's bye week this year, and his future son better cooperate with that date.

"He better come on the bye week," Ebron said with a big grin. "Because I told (my girl) that I'm not missing that Steelers game (Oct. 29)."

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